Since last Tuesday I’ve been pretty good at taking it one day at a time. I’ve been watching what I eat, trying to get more active, and have cut back on the alcohol – a bit. I still drink everyday but I’m actually only having 1-3 drinks as opposed to lying about it or justifying filling a wine glass to the brim as ‘it’s technically just 1 glass’. I’ve been out to the beach, and visiting with friends, and healthily caring for myself mentally. This morning I was just telling my mom how good I felt and how I felt that I was rebuilding some of my resilience to deal with stress.
And then I got a call with more bad news from home and I find myself sitting here with no idea what to do. Do I book the next flight out? Do I wait and hope for the best? It’s one of the many difficulties about living far away from home. Ultimately my entire life boils down to this simple equation: does the value outweigh the cost? And everytime I feel like I’m making a stride in the right direction, there’s another road block that sends me right back to where I was. My goodness this is one hell of a battle to get out of my spiral!
I would like to start by saying family will always outweigh anything in my books, but the question is not that cut and dry. If I go there, then I can help out while my dad is in hospital and my stepmom is sick and my mom is recovering from her surgery… but dad’s in hospital so doesn’t need any help that a nurse can’t offer. Mom’s at home and on the mend with a doting husband caring for her (yes, she found the dream!) so again I can’t offer much assistance. And my stepmom is the one who desperately needs help, but her own daughter lives about 150kms away while I find myself literally across the world… so how do I justify going to help out when no one actually needs my help?
Then there’s the mental health aspect of it. It would be great to see my parents and for them both to see me… but they would want to entertain me or go out or cook for me, etc which I wouldn’t allow… and that would cause them no end of grief internally that they are the helpless ones while I’m caring for them. They’re both in their 50’s and being so sick is new – especially to my dad, so while he loves catering and hosting and cooking for everyone else, he’s impossible to sit still and let others care for him. He’s really struggling, today especially, with all that’s going on, but keeps telling me not to worry and so I haven’t told him that I’d like to come home if even just to see him when he gets out of hospital. Mentally I’m not sure if it would do more harm than good for them, so while I know it’s what I want and what would help me through this time, I’m still not sure it’s the right decision.
Add on to all the other factors: the season. It’s nearing Christmas meaning flights are more expensive, and the weather is currently awful where I’m from apparently. That mix of snow and then rain has caused a wet cold mess of a winter so far… which leads to potential flight changes, etc. adding to the potential concerns of how many days off I would need to get home.
Days off… I have none to take as paid annual leave so everything would be taken as unpaid leave. I would need about 3-3.5 weeks to stay just past Christmas (because why go all the way there to leave 2 days before all the family events), so that’s 3 weeks of pay that I would miss, on top of a very expensive flight (holidays + last minute = ridiculous cost!). I just don’t know if I can afford that if not absolutely necessary. Even if I budget as best as possible, I’m still looking at an $8,000 expense.
So does the value of this trip outweigh the costs? I’m not sure and that’s why I’m so conflicted. I’m barely holding it together here and while I try to find a cheaper alternative, I have to admit that I don’t see one. 😦 So an $8,000 bill at the end of all of this is a hefty price tag if dad recovers in the next couple days – which we are all optimistically hoping for. But what if he doesn’t? What if I miss my last chance to see him all because I was trying to save money? It doesn’t sound like it’s immediately life-threatening, but that could change over night and I won’t have time to get there. I just don’t want to wait until it’s too late. But again, the stress of that financial burden would be a lot for me to handle when I’m so emotionally fragile to begin with.
My anxiety is so overrun with the what-ifs of every possible scenario that I have no idea how to even begin to tackle it. I literally just want to go home to bed, and it’s only 2:30 in the afternoon. I feel like a deer caught in headlights and completely incapable of moving. This decision has far surpassed any I feel capable of making at this point.